LANDOVER, Md.—When the Seahawks offense took the field on their 4-yard line down eight points with 2:19 left and no timeouts, not a lot that had taken place in the previous 58 minutes suggested a comeback was possible.
Yet despite punting on the previous six consecutive possessions, gaining only one first down along the way, the Seahawks marched 96 yards on 10 plays, a drive that culminated with Russell Wilson hitting Freddie Swain for a 32-yard touchdown with 15 seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, the 2-point conversion attempt was intercepted, leading to the Seahawks dropping yet another close game, falling 17-15 to the Washington Football Team.
It was a fishing that demonstrated two things that have become common themes for this year's team, which fell to 3-8 with Monday night's loss. First, the Seahawks are having a really hard time this year finishing close games, something that has been one of the best traits of Pete Carroll coached teams in the past, and second, players aren't quitting on this season even as the playoffs become more and more unlikely.
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And it wasn't just the offense's final drive that showed the fight the Seahawks still have in them; it was also the play of the defense that, despite once again being on the wrong side of a big disparity in time of possession, came up with stop after stop to keep it a one-score game. After Washington scored early in the second half to take an 8-point lead, the defense forced three straight punts, all of which featured third-and-short stops, then got a fourth-and-goal stop that gave the offense a shot at a tying drive.
"To have a chance to be right there at the end, I'm really proud of the way these guys keep battling and fighting hard, and doing what we need to do to hit the heck out of people and make things happen when we get a chance," Carroll said. "But the results just aren't coming. We can't get these games won. I'm not accepting it, and I'm not taking a sideways step. I'm not stepping anywhere but forward. We're going to keep driving to get the very next chance we get and go get a win and get going. And I don't expect these guys, at any time, to do anything but that. Just want to keep stepping forward, keep moving, and battling our way through it. It's been really frustrating obviously, but we're just not going to accept it. We just want to keep going."
The concern in a situation like this, of course, is that players could start to check out and go through the motions as the losses pile up. After all, eight losses are more than the Seahawks have had in a season since 2011, the year before Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner arrived in Seattle, but Carroll is confident that won't happen with this team.
"That's not going to happen," Carroll said. "I know these guys too well. I know their heart, they know my heart, and we've been battling for a long time together. We've got the leadership that there's just no room for that to happen. We're going to play for the pride in it, and we're going to play for the people that we are, we're going to represent. I don't know how else to look at it but that way.
"We're together in this thing. We're doing this whole thing together, and that's the way we've always done it, and counted on that relationship to be able to help us when times are tough and to navigate when times can set us off. We're going to keep going. We don't have any other way to do it… I'm not going to accept the way this is going and affect me in way other than to keep on freakin' battling and competing and taking the very next step I take pointed at the very next I take pointed at the very next opportunity, and making everything I can out of that, and I'm going to count on them going with me, and I know they will."
Believing the team can get going isn't the same as accepting what has happened so far. Nobody is OK with the problems that have led to a 3-8 start. As Carroll noted, "It stinks, it really does. It stinks when it's like this."
Or as Bobby Wagner put it, "It's frustrating. We're frustrated. Obviously, this is not how we wanted things to go. We've just got to figure out how to get some wins."
But again, the Seahawks didn't play like a team that has given up on things, and they don't plan on losing that type of effort regardless of the record.
"You see how we just battled all the way down to the wire," Wagner said. "I mean, there were a lot of moments in this game where we could have just given up and we kept fighting and we came close, but we came up short. I'm confident that everybody's going to keep battling."
Russell Wilson, who threw for two touchdowns and had a 110.6 passer rating, but who also missed a few throws he usually makes, called the loss, "Just disappointing. We have a good football team, lot of great players and lot of amazing effort every day you know, we give our all every day. I think from a player standpoint, just day-in, day-out we work our butts off. Offensive side, defensive side, special teams. We're in a storm. You know, I believe we have to keep going and the only away to get to the other side and just believe that the waters are going to calm down a little bit. We'll be able to get through it. I think that this season has been a tough journey so far in general we've had some crazy tough games and battled, battled, battled. And so, the last few minutes of the game shows that we have the right character of guys. That's what's special about this team… I just think this journey, this season, it's been challenging it's been tough but at the same time, there's more football left. I know for me, personally, I'm going to give everything I have like I always do, everyday every play, until the very end, until the last play of the game, just like tonight, just because I don't know any other way. I think these guys in this locker room don't know any other way, as well, there's a lot of amazing courage in that locker room, a lot of amazing belief."
The Seahawks are now in a position of needing to win every game from here on out to avoid a losing record, but the focus this week will be on the immediate task at hand, Sunday's game against the 49ers.
"We got another opportunity," said safety Jamal Adams, who had an interception, the pass breakup on fourth down at the goal line, as well as nine tackles. "Next week, another opportunity is at hand. I said it last week, we're pros. This is what we do. No matter if it's win, lose or draw, we've got to put our helmet back on and we've got to get back out there and fight. That's all we can do."
The Seattle Seahawks take on the Washington Football Team during Week 12 of the 2021 season at FedExField. This album will be updated throughout the game. Game Action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.